Elon University Partners with Center for African American Cultural Art and History in Celebration of Juneteenth

Elon University will partner with the African American Cultural Arts and History Center in Burlington to celebrate Juneteenth on June 18. Community members can participate in one of three 75-minute tours of the new center, including a featured exhibit “Juneteenth & Black Alamance.” “

June 19, now known as Juneteenth National Independence Day, was designated a federal holiday today by President Joseph Biden. Juneteenth commemorates June 19, 1865, when the end of slavery was announced in Galveston, Texas.

John Robinson-Miller, deputy director of the university’s Center for Race, Ethnicity & Diversity Education, said he was thrilled that community members were not only learning about Juneteenth’s story nationally and globally, but also locally in Alamance.

“As a community, we also need to know the stories that happened, especially in Elon,” Robinson-Miller said. “It’s a way to tie all of these things together.”

Jane Sellars, a native of Alamance County and a prominent African American community leader, had a vision to create a space that would educate, preserve and bring the community together. In 2017, she founded the African American Cultural Arts and History Center.

Today the center is run by Shineece Sellars, daughter of the late Jane Sellars. As CEO of the center, Sellars has followed in his mother’s footsteps and assumes all aspects of her leadership role.

Sellars has always been connected to the people of the organization, and her new role has allowed her to connect and learn from those around her on a new level.

“My role was more behind the scenes; my background was more in accounting and finance, ”Sellars said. “Since my mother’s death, I have resumed her position as senior manager and directed the day-to-day management of the center. ”

Although the role consumes a lot of her time, Sellars said she enjoys learning and interacting with the community.

The AACAHC opened the doors of its permanent physical space in Burlington in early April and serves as a cultural site and museum focused on personal and generational history. The museum preserves genealogy and tells many stories about people who have created a lasting impact in African American history in Alamance and the surrounding counties.

Previously, the initiative had no physical space and had to use community spaces, such as the public library and theaters. Garry Wiley Jr., founding member of the center and chairman of the board, said they were excited to have the physical space to store their collections.

“It will help us open the door to future programming, like genealogy classes that we so desperately wanted to do,” Wiley said.

Visits will be held at 9 a.m., noon and 3 p.m. on June 18 at the center, located at 2381 Corporation Parkway, NC 27215. Pre-registration for visits is compulsory.

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